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How to Use Emojis in Your Marketing Campaigns

How to Use Emojis in Your Marketing Campaigns

Is July 17th an important day for you? Do you remember seeing it somewhere and now can't remember why? If you have an iPhone or Apple device you're more likely to recognize it as the date which appears on their frequently used calendar emoji. This is why Emojipedia founder Jeremy Burge chose this as the date to unofficially celebrate World Emoji Day in 2014. Since 2011, when Apple introduced the standard emoji keyboard to iOS5, their popularity has grown exponentially with a whopping 655 million more emoji messages being sent between June 2015 and June 2016. With companies and brands a little slow to start, this year's World Emoji Day saw marketers upping the ante and exploring how the humble emoji can make the difference in their brand awareness.

Continue reading our article to find out more how to use emojis to improve your marketing campaigns.

You may also be interested in: How to do Market Research

What are the Emoji Demographics?

Emoji speak is a common language for Generation Z (or the iGeneration), the generation following millennials who have grown up with smartphone technology as de rigueur. This does not mean that ensuing generations are dumbing down, but that communication is evolving and becoming more complex as icons and traditional alphabets merge. It is not even anything new as pictographic communication has existed for millennia in ancient communities such as the Aztecs and Egyptians.

This does not mean that Generation Z is the only target demographic. A recent study suggests that more than 64% of those surveyed, which included a wide range of age groups, like or love emojis compared to only 6% who hated them. According to PR Week, 4 out of 5 people aged between 18 and 65 regularly use emojis. This means that companies like Chevrolet, whose key selling demographic is becoming increasingly older, can create successful campaigns like the all-emoji press release which produced a successful viral marketing campaign.


Emojis on Social Media

Although Jeremy Burge is considered to have created World Emoji Day, its popularity skyrocketed thanks to a grassroots campaign across Twitter. Using social media to improve visibility is increasingly necessary for brand survival and many companies have made requests for platforms like Twitter to create an emoji which will represent their product. Facebook also recently introduced an emoji option on messenger to help their users respond to a post with more than the limiting 'like' or 'dislike' options.

Food brands seem to be the forerunners of this style of emoji-based targeting as both Taco Bell and Dominos successfully petitioned Twitter to create a taco and pizza emoji, respectfully. Brands can then pay the social media platform to target users who use these emojis so that when someone wants a pizza and tells the Twitterverse via emoji, an ad for their local pizzeria might pop up near their feed. It is similar to keyword targeting and the possibilities seem endless as almost anything can have some sort of related or representational emoji.

Emojis and Social Responsibility

Social responsibility in marketing is nothing new as companies who promote a brand image of sustainability or introduce 'win-win' products (those which mutually benefit both manufacturer and consumer) often have a competitive advantage. For World Emoji Day in 2016, the Ford Motor Company promoted responsible driving by creating pictures of vulnerable pedestrians made from emojis and captioned 'Don't Emoji and Drive'.

A way that emoji-based targeting and brand improvement can be integrated has been seen with Durex's campaign to introduce the condom emoji. By people sending and sharing the condom emoji, they hoped to create awareness for events such as World Aids Day and good sexual health in general. More recently, the company announced an eggplant/aubergine flavoured condom with the often misconstrued eggplant emoji on the box. Although just a hoax, it was shared frequently and shows just how integral an emoji like this is part of our language.


Funny and Cute Emojis

We can't forget one of the greatest reasons why emojis have gained such popularity: they're fun! When responding to some good news, or even instead of a wordy response, sending an emoji can encapsulate all you want to say in a single image. Marketers often use humour to promote their content and products. With their simple, yet striking, visual presence, emojis seem a perfect way to deliver the funny with the message.

Most successful R-rated movie of all time, Deadpool, managed to get an early buzz by promoting the film with an emoji-only billboard. This works not only on a humor-level, but also increases interest as onlookers try to decipher what it means and, in turn, create the kind of anticipation which gets people talking.

Cuteness also works well as the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) created a series of 17 emojis with each one representing a different endangered animal. They then donated €0.10 for every time it was tweeted to help their real life animal counterparts. This shows us how cuteness, emojis and responsible marketing can all come together for a successful campaign.


Integrating Emojis and Audience

When considering the age demographics of emoji users, we did not take into account other group dynamic considerations. This can be equally, if not more, important as target audiences for marketers become more and more specialized. Websites which cater to people of certain sporting interests, cultural backgrounds or even political affiliation might use certain emojis more than others.

For example, if you had a website devoted to punk rock music you might find more use of a skull emoji compared to a Formula 1 racing website which had more of a chequered flag. As different communities exist and communicate online, marketers will want to match different brands to their use of language and this includes the emoji.

Emojis don't seem to be going away, so we hope we have helped you find some marketing solutions to make the most of this growing trend.

To find out more about how to improve your marketability, take a look at our articles on the Most Effective Social Media Marketing Techniques for Your Business and 4 Best Tools for Email Marketing.

If you'd like to read similar articles to How to Use Emojis in Your Marketing Campaigns, we recommend you browse around our Economy & business category.

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